Today I’d like to talk about two House races.
- One is national and the other’s in Helena.
- One will be decided in about 4 months by 350,000 statewide voters or so, and the other will be decided by a backroom of Party insiders.
Yep, we’re talking about the Williams/Gianforte race as well as the race to see who can schmooze their way into the soon-to-be-vacated HD 79 seat.
Let’s get started.
A Short Bit on Xenophobia
Virginia Jenny is quitting the legislature.
Oh…I’m sorry…am I not supposed to call Jenny Eck “Virginia Jenny?”
I mean, Dems have their Maryland Matt. I thought shaming carpetbaggers was what we did here?
And how come we don’t have a pet name like that for Kathleen Williams?
Probably because no one knows where the hell she was born.
The best I can find is “an Army hospital.” That leads me to believe she might have actually been born outside the country, not just outside the state.
Currently the Williams campaign is keeping her place of birth a closely guarded secret, and none of the local or national media have dug into it…as far as I can tell. Even Carroll College’s Jeremy Johnson is eating it up.
Yes, every single article on her just mentions that Army hospital, and none dig further.
Well…where the hell was this hospital at?!?
- Republicans need to make this an issue, the sooner the better.
- The Williams campaign needs to update her website bio to actually tell us her place of birth before the GOP does.
Personally I think nothing will happen, as Gianforte has only been living here since 1995 as well, the same year Williams moved here.
Neither wants to bring up the home-state issue.
It’ll come up eventually, however, and at this point, either campaign can dictate how that comes up. If they don’t, one of the GOP PACs will do it for them, for everyone to see, on the airwaves at the dinner hour.
Time’s ‘a tickin’.
The HD 79 Puppet Show
Anyways, back to Jenny Eck.
She’s done in politics, having announced her intention to go and work for some nonprofit.
Now the puppet show begins for local Helena Democrats.
Which will they choose to represent them in this oh-so-safe, metropolitan district…one which has absolutely no impact on the state as the legislature is safely in GOP hands?
Tough to say.
Currently we have a few candidates, Lee Enterprises tells us. These include two losers, one quitter, a lesbian, and a healthcare exec:
- Rob Farris-Olsen
- Tyrel Suzor-Hoy
- Jenifer Gursky
- Christine Kaufmann
- Jill Steeley
Farris-Olsen recently lost his race against Mary Caferro, a woman the Helena Dem establishment turned against this last cycle…and big time.
He recently filed his closing report and it tells us that he still has $7,500 in the bank. In addition to this, his treasurer was DeeAnn Cooney.
Suzor-Hoy lost his PSC #5 primary to Andy Shirtliff, and he just has $390 left in the bank.
The clear choice here is Farris-Olsen. The Dem establishment wanted him really bad already, he has a key player as his treasurer (showing the power brokers’ support), and he has the money.
The money is important, not because it needs to be used for this uncompetitive House seat (there is no general opponent in November, and there won’t be much competition against the chosen puppet come 2020).
No, the money is important because Farris-Olsen can launder it to other candidates this cycle still, such as competitive legislative races around the state, as well as the House and Senate races.
We saw this quite clearly with two other noncompetitive Helena legislative races in 2016.
The other three candidates are interesting for other reasons.
Jenifer Gursky quit HD 98 here in Missoula in October 2013 so she could take a job with the Helena Food Share.
She won that seat in 2012 with 59% of the vote, having raised about $3,800. Missoula Dems chose Andrew Person to fill that seat. He won it outright in 2014, but then lost it in 2016.
Now Gursky wants her old job back...just the easy way - not having to run in an actual election for it.
When it comes to Christine Kaufmann, we have a 66-year-old lesbian that served three terms in the Montana House starting in 2001, and two terms in the Montana Senate, starting in 2007.
She was term-limited in 2016 and chose not to jump back down to the lower chamber.
So…why, two years later, does she now want to go back to that lower chamber?
Probably because there were no open seats last cycle, a common problem for metropolitan Dems.
And we know that Kaufmann will be a fundraising force in that seat – she raised $25,000 for her 2012 race and $51,000 for her 2008 race.
She’s raised over $173,000 in 7 legislative races since 2000.
That’s a lot of money, and we know Dems love their money...and laundering it to other candidates.
The final candidate in this puppet show is Jill Steely, who works as the executive director of Helena’s PureView Health Center.
She seems like a political newcomer and I don’t know much about her.
“Christine Kaufmann.” Ballotpedia. Retrieved 27 June 2018. https://ballotpedia.org/Christine_Kaufmann
“Christine Kaufmann (Montana politician).” Wikipedia. 21 January 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christine_Kaufmann_(Montana_politician)
“Democrat Williams Offers Contrast to Gianforte in House Race.” Flathead Beacon. 6 June 2018. https://flatheadbeacon.com/2018/06/06/kathleen-williams-wins-u-s-house-democratic-primary/
“Jenifer Gursky.” Ballotpedia. Retrieved 27 June 2018. https://ballotpedia.org/Jenifer_Gursky
“Kathleen Williams (politician).” Wikipedia. 27 June 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathleen_Williams_(politician)
Michels, Holly K. “Familiar names seeking Jenny Eck’s House seat in Helena.” Ravalli Republic. 25 June 2018. https://ravallirepublic.com/news/government-and-politics/article_8da6d5ac-79ce-5b00-a6c2-6625a0d91591.html
“Missoula state Rep. Gursky resigns for Helena job.” Billings Gazette. 28 October 2013. https://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/missoula-state-rep-gursky-resigns-for-helena-job/article_ede6c32a-37cc-5a4d-bd62-dc8485fa4c26.amp.html